Bear’s Healing Journey



Monochrome Madness Week 32

This image of my equine companion, Bear, was captured about three weeks ago when he was feeling rather under the weather with a lameness issue.

Like me he’s been experiencing a transitional year.

New barn; new coach; new training regimen and work ethic; new friends have been positive stressors requiring adjustment and alignment on both our parts.

Releasing old behaviour patterns that no longer suit and embracing a new, more authentic way of being in the world requires big change at all levels and can be an exhausting process. If we aren’t paying attention and listening to our bodies, serious damage can ensue.

Adrenal fatigue has been my teacher here.

I’m pleased to say that now, after much considered care by his amazing vet, chiropractor, the barn owner, the farrier and with heaping doses of extra love from me and now two paddock buddies to pass the time with outside, Bear is feeling much better. In fact, it seems to me he’s moving more freely than I’ve ever experienced. Indeed, his frame of mind in his work appears to reflect this ~ probably because he is feeling more comfortable.

Like people, horses can get caught up in a negative way of being. It’s what they get used to so it becomes “normal.”

But then one day the ball drops.

The wake up call Bear gave me when he first appeared lame told me he was ready for change; told me he needed to rest before stepping even further into the new, more life-embracing way of being I’d chosen for us both earlier this year.

I’m glad I listened and had the support around me to move him gently into his next stage of development.

Today he gets a massage to complete this cycle of care.

Lucky horse. 😉

Thanks for visiting …



I notice we’ve passed the 1,000 marker for followers. Thank you so much to one and all for showing such interest in my photography. I plan a retrospective of my favourite images for a future blog post when things settle down a bit around here. Stay tuned!

©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

The In-Between … Florence, Italy





We were in Italy the past couple of weeks. Started in Florence for a few days, rented a spectacular villa in Tuscany for a week with five couples from our neighbourhood, and then spent the last four days in Venice.

This trip proved an epiphany for me ~ a sign that the worst of my journey with adrenal fatigue is likely behind me, and that I can now look forward to being more fully engaged with life.

I can hardly express my relief.

For the past few years I’ve inhabited the in-between ~ crossing the bridge from a life time of PTSD, and all the dysfunction that implies, to a healthier and more functional way of being. I’ve been healing and this trip to a land steeped in culture and history and landscape and pizza has proven just how far I’ve come.

Italy, my panacea ~ the flavourful food, the delicious wines, the interesting character(s), the incredible vistas, the intense colours, the ornate murano glass, the exquisite leathers and fabrics, the refreshing gelato … an exquisite jumping off point to another amazing chapter in my life.

I feel so fortunate.

Of course, the healing journey continues, but I can move forward now knowing that the progress has been worth the pain and that I am on the right track.

So, with beautiful Italy still very much forefront in my mind it seems appropriate to share this image taken from the Ponte San Trinita in Florence, looking down the River Arno toward the Ponte alla Carraia. Beyond this second bridge and waving between the arches is a sculpted stickman planted on some kind of jetty in the middle of the river ~ no doubt there to add a little whimsy and amuse those, like myself, addicted to standing on a bridge capturing countless images of the setting sun in Italy.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014


Shout Outs

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

Travel with Intent

Please … don’t move!

This Artful Journey

2812 photography

Beyond the Brush

A Gift of Roses

A Gift of Roses

There’s nothing quite like a bouquet of roses to cheer a girl up.

Yesterday was a rather unpleasant one for me.

Occasionally adrenal fatigue, something I’ve been dealing with for more than two years now, creeps up and hijacks my day like nothing else.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Certain emotional and hormonal stresses seem to trigger it.

I endeavour to be philosophical about it while I continue to seek professional help.

In the process I’m learning to take better care of myself.

And I’ve learned to live in the moment; to listen to every message my body sends telling me to pay attention.

But I guess, in spite of my best efforts to buffer my social commitments with appropriate down time, I over did it this Thanksgiving weekend, because yesterday my body shutdown and, in no uncertain terms (and certainly not pleasant ones), told me to rest.

Re-runs of Downtown Abbey on the DVD became the soundtrack of my day.  I’ve watched it so many times it requires no effort on my part to enjoy it.

So, today, feeling somewhat more my regular self, I selected a bouquet of roses from my recent photo archive (aren’t they divine?) to remind me that beauty abounds, even when we’re not feeling so good.

We just need to open our eyes … and stop to smell the roses. 😉

These roses served as part of the Royal Windsor Rose and Horticultural Society Coronation Arch 2013  ~ an art installation celebrating Her Majesty the Queen’s coronation.

I love roses!

There … I feel better already.

Thanks for visiting …

Dorothy 🙂


©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: 2012 … A Year of Healing

Here’s a baker’s dozen images highlighting my 2012 for this week’s photo challenge.

This past year for me has been about healing and adopting a new way of experiencing life by living simply and simply being.

It isn’t possible to unravel a life time of PTSD-related symptoms overnight. It takes time. My embattled adrenal glands need more relaxation and less stimulation if they’re going to recover. So, I’m letting go of old ways and learning to put the focus on “being” instead of “doing.” Fortunately I have a loving partner who is supportive and encouraging as I make this transition.

Herewith a few words and images highlighting moments from my healing journey in 2012.

... Puppies bring joy ...

In early December 2011, our beautiful Abbey had a litter of eight healthy puppies. By mid January they were delighting us all with their playful antics and cuteness. Is it possible to be around puppies and not feel a sense of wonder and joy?  Simply being with these puppies helped to buoy my spirits.


February found us in Barcelona for a week. Unsure of how the travel stress would effect me I was a bit reticent about going initially, but after consulting with the doctor my mind was put at ease and off I went. We kept it simple and walked enough for me to fall in love with Barcelona’s ancient charm and culture. The journey home took its toll. Still, I wouldn’t have missed this trip for the world.

... Grey ...

March and April are grey months here in Southern Ontario, and I felt pretty grey with it. Migraines, nausea, vomiting were regular and unwelcome companions. (Once I ended up in the emergency room at the local hospital. Kate Middleton’s symptoms without the pregnancy …) I managed to come through that okay and, with the prescribed anti-nausea meds, seem to be able to keep these unpleasant spells, all stress induced, a little more under control. These unpredictable moments are a stern reminder that I must keep my life simple and rest often if I want my adrenal function to recover.

Spring Tulip

Tulips are my favourite spring flower. With my camera I spent many happy moments experimenting with light.

Ring around the sun

Late May gave me pause. A member of the family attempted suicide and by some miracle survived. Before I arrived at the hospital I noticed this halo around the sun, a sign of hope if ever I saw one. Fortunately my loved on has no lingering effects from his act of desperation. Most important is the fact he is getting the help he needs for a full recovery. While it was not a pleasant experience this episode tested my ability to self-manage during a crisis that in the past would have sent me reeling. It was a milestone showing me how far I’d progressed along my healing path.


Two weeks later, two little miracles — seven-week-old kittens who’d been abandoned in a card board box on the side of a busy country road not far from where I live. They’d been rescued by a local barn owner and were awaiting adoption. My aged cat had died the month before and I was feeling lonely for kitty companionship so I dropped by the barn to take a look. These two beautiful boys, Indy and JJ, captured my heart so I brought them home. Another simple reason to smile.

Baby Robin

We enjoyed lovely weather this summer, so I was often able to relax with a good book beside our newly installed bubble rock. Quite unexpectedly this water feature attracted a number of feathered visitors, especially when the weather turned oppressive. This baby robin came by occasionally to enjoy a wonderful play in the cool, burbling water. I found the simple joy of observing nature in this manner quite healing.

Rusty Two

Mid summer I returned to Alberta to visit my recovering loved one. He introduced me to a new member of the family … Rusty … who is playing an important role in his healing process. Interesting to me is how the simple presence of a small (or large) animal can make such a positive difference in a person’s outlook on life.

Horse Therapy

Speaking of large animals, my horse, Shakespeare (aka Bear), is wonderful therapy. He’s such a good-natured boy — the comic Shakespeare — giving me all kinds of reasons to be happy. Simply being in his presence shifts my focus from my cares and puts me squarely where I need to be … in the moment. It’s such a blessing.

collies at play

Yet more animal therapy, this time the girlies — Sass (mother) and Abbey (daughter) — are a great source of comfort and companionship. Their loyalty and playfulness make up for all the hair. 😉 Simply watching them romp during our long walks on a friend’s farm brings joy to my heart.


In October more travels, this time to Australia via Hawaii. We planned this four-day stop to help manage the travel stress. The almost 20-hour trip to Hawaii (including waiting in airports), however, was still too much and I was quite ill for the first several hours upon arrival. Two days later the stress was compounded by a tsunami warning which didn’t materialize into anything but still took a toll on my adrenals. A traditional Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage the next morning helped to purge the tension from mind, body and spirit. The next day we left for …

Family Gathering at America Bay

… Australia, where we attended a family wedding at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. People ask what we did during our first trip to Aus  and my answer: “Absolutely nothing.” It was not a trip about doing, it was about being with people we love and experiencing the moment. It was about keeping the experience simple. The wedding took place within days of our arrival. After that we drifted and rested and relaxed. No plans, just peace. It was a wonderful way to be.


Returning home we stopped in beautiful Maui for three days and then a day in San Francisco. The short overnight flight was, perhaps, the most stressful passage of the trip simply because we got no sleep. It took most of our one day in San Fran to recover. Still, in the evening we enjoyed a lovely fine dining experience in a fabulous Italian restaurant near Union Square. Just being in this beautiful city was amazing.


It’s a challenge to encapsulate a year in 12 (13) images and a little copy, but suffice to say for me 2012 has been an important year of growth, self-awareness and healing.

In 2013 I look forward to further healing and getting stronger so my life can expand.

My blogs have been an important part of the journey during the past 12 months and I appreciate all the visits, likes and comments I’ve received from my blogging friends at WordPress and beyond. As I heal my voice grows stronger and more confident. You are an important part of that healing.

Stay tuned as I reconfigure my blog experience somewhat, including the introduction of a new one dedicated to the life altering magic of travel.

Thank you for visiting, and all the best to you and yours for 2013 …

Be well,

Dorothy 🙂


Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2012